Bob Summers

Bob Summers addresses the Walton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night, April 6, 2021, in Monroe, Ga.

MONROE, Ga. — A proposed neighborhood just south of Loganville has been put on hold over questions about sewer service.

CTX Funding SPE of Good Hope asked the county to rezone land off Tig Knight Road to residential use for a subdivision.

Edward F. and Nancie W. Albin, who live at the property, own the 30.67 acres near the Tara development and The Cross church, with some of the surrounding property inside the city of Loganville.

The original request was for a neighborhood that would include 72 lots zoned for R1 (Single-Family Residential District) with Residential Neighborhood Development overlay.

The Planning Commission recommended the zoning change, with conditions, including sewer service, and architectural restrictions.

Kathyrn Zickert, representing the applicant, said the proposed homes would compare “very favorably” with those in the nearby Arbors at Tara neighborhood, for price and size.

She acknowledged the opposition to the development, saying, “We have tried to work with the community; unfortunately those efforts were not successful,” Zickert said.

Bob Summers, who bought the property with his family in 1978, said the goal for years has been to build a subdivision on the land. Over the years, the family could have dove and skeet shoots, but as neighbors closed in and the area became less rural, that way of life ended.

“What we used to be able to shoot skeet on, we got complaints from neighbors because pellets were hitting their houses,” he said.

Summers said his father would talk every few years about trying to draw out plats for a subdivision.

“It never worked out for him,” Summers said. “This is his chance to make something work out for the property that he purchased 43 years ago.

“Unfortunately it’s not going to work out for him because five months ago he passed away. But I’m here today because I want to see it happen.”

McDonough attorney Warren Tillery represented neighbors who oppose the zoning change, out of a fear it would reduce the property value.

Jose Umanzor and Sandra Rangel own a 3.5-acre strip of land that abuts the CTX property. Tillery argued the lack of access to city sewer and water make the subdivision a nonstarter.

“You can’t put septic tanks on the density they’re proposing,” he said. “The simple fact is, it’s trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”

Ammie Elliott, who lives on nearby Linda Drive, said she thinks approving the neighborhood would change the character of Walton County.

“We appreciate the rules and guidance that were in place, and we prefer not to be on top of each other,” she said. “I have a hard time understanding why new communities do not have to go by these rules.”

She said part of the attraction to Walton County is it doesn’t have the density of some of its neighbors.

“Growth without standards will ruin our county,” she said. “I know we have the ability to say no; if we don’t have the ability to say no, then why are we even here?”

Her neighbor, Richard Taylor Jr., said he bought his home on a 2.6-acre lot in 2017 because of the existing character of the property.

“The reason we bought that is the scenery of the area,” he said. “I just can’t imagine a cluster of homes crammed in that small area.

“To say that no one is looking for 2-acre lots or 2.6-acre lots, this guy just bought one.”

In rebuttal, Zickert said the subdivision design left two lots open along the back side of the small lake to preserve Taylor’s view.

“I know people don’t want change,” Zickert said. “It’s really hard. I’m not trying to downplay that opinion at all, but change has already come to this area … and like it or not they (in Loganville) do impact it, or not.”

Although the public hearing exceeded its allotted time in a long board meeting, eventually the elected officials had to act. It fell to Commissioner Mark Banks, whose District 2 includes the proposed subdivision.

“We’ve got a situation that’s uncertain,” Banks said. “We’re taking a city footprint and bringing it outside the city.”

Banks acknowledged a zoning change is appropriate, inviting anyone who thinks he can make money on the property through agriculture use to make an offer and try, but said the issue is moot until Loganville acts.

“I don’t think we can go any further with this until there’s some clarity on sewer,” he said. “I’m not real easy about the city coming out into the county.”

Banks made a motion to table the request “until we can get some clarity with what’s going on with the city.”

Banks also suggested Henson’s father “was misled by the city of Loganville” years ago about possibly being annexed.

The measure to table the rezoning passed unanimously.

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